Thinking Anglicans

Zimbabwe goings-on

Updated Friday evening

Pat Ashworth reports in the Church Times that Harare Anglicans are urged to stand up to Kunonga.

George Conger reports in the Church of England Newspaper that Central Africa Issues Ultimatum to Kunonga.

And he also has Provincial Leaders Tell Harare Bishop to Resign in the Living Church.

Episcopal News Service reports CENTRAL AFRICA: Provincial dean declares two Zimbabwe dioceses of Harare and Manicaland vacant.

See also these reports on Episcopal Café Harare chancellor warns diocese and Kunonga must go, say provincial leaders.


Reform gets more publicity

Updated again Thursday evening

Reform, “a 1,700-strong evangelical network”, which was in the news earlier with this report, held an annual conference in central London this week. See announcement, and the detailed agenda (PDF file).

Media coverage of this:

The Times Conservative clergy told to leave care of bishop if he’s a liberal and later, Call to ignore ‘liberal’ CofE bishops and another version headlined Evangelicals told to defy bishops
Daily Telegraph Anglican Parishes To Ordain Own Clergy (Telegraph website temporarily unavailable, see copy here)
BBC Church makes threat over gay row

The Church of England Newspaper also has coverage, headlined Reform warns of further actions: copy of it here.

And Religious Intelligence now also has More irregular action ‘highly likely’- Reform by Ed Beavan.

Second Update
The motions passed by the conference can be found at Anglican Mainstream, Motions from Reform Conference.


Humility, Grace and Freedom

Dr Joseph Cassidy of St Chad’s College, Durham gave a talk on the place of humility and grace within the Anglican Communion, to the Inclusive Church day conference held at St Matthew’s Westminster on 22 September.

The full text of his talk can be found here.


PB speaks to American Episcopalians

In another live webcast, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has talked about the New Orleans meeting of the House of Bishops. She then answered many questions, both from a studio audience and submitted by email.

You can read her introductory remarks here.

You can watch the entire programme here.

An ENS report on the programme is here: ‘There will be no outcasts in this Church,’ Presiding Bishop tells live webcast audience.

Why can’t the Church of England have this kind of event?


Crown Appointments: consultation paper

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have published a press release and a consultation document.

The press release is here: Archbishops consult on Crown Appointments.

The consultation document to which it refers is published as a word processing file here.

An html copy of it is available here.

Here is the Introduction:


1. On 3 July the Government published a Green Paper, The Governance of Britain. It contained a wide range of proposals for constitutional renewal. Paragraphs 57 to 66 (copy attached at Annex A) signalled the Government’s wish for some change in the role that Ministers and civil servants play in relation to some Church appointments.

2. In particular, the Green Paper proposed that the Prime Minister should no longer use the royal prerogative to exercise choice in recommending appointments in senior ecclesiastical posts. In consequence, the Church would in future be asked to forward one name for the Prime Minister to convey to the Queen in relation to diocesan bishop appointments. The Government also committed itself to discussing with the Church how changes could be made in relation to cathedral, parish and other Crown appointments (excluding those to the Royal Peculiars) so that the Prime Minister no longer played an active role in the selection of individual candidates.

3. The scheduled General Synod debate on 9 July on the Pilling Report, Talent and Calling, provided the opportunity for the Church to give an initial response to the Government’s proposals. Attached at Annex B is a copy of the motion that the Synod passed by 297 votes to 1.

4. The Synod noted that there would now need to be a process of discussion both within the Church and between the Church and the Government in order to develop new arrangements that would command a wide measure of support. It invited us to report back to the Synod in February.

5. The purpose of this document is to set out some thoughts on a possible way forward and to invite comments from around the Church. The time-scale is necessarily challenging. Those wishing to respond to this consultation document are asked to do so not later than Friday, 7 December, preferably by emailing or by sending written comments to Dr Colin Podmore at Church House, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3AZ (


Peter Jensen on ABC radio

ABC Radio in its Sunday Profile programme has Monica Attard interviewing the Archbishop of Sydney.

There is a full transcript here. A lot of it is about why he is against women in the episcopate.


Idowu-Fearon in Dallas

Rod Dreher of the Dallas Morning News spoke to Josiah Idowu-Fearon Bishop of Kaduna, Nigeria, and until recently the archbishop for that region.

Read the whole interview here: Josiah Idowu-Fearon: At the heart of two flashpoints.


one bishop on Lambeth

Alan Wilson, who is Bishop of Buckingham in the Diocese of Oxford, has written on his blog:

What kind of party spirit am I on? Someone asked me if I’m going to the Lambeth conference.

Read it all…


Ottawa votes on same-sex blessings

A Canadian diocese has voted in its diocesan synod in favour of authorising same-sex blessings. As the Anglican Journal explains:

The synod of the diocese of Ottawa, by an overwhelming vote of 177 to 97, today approved a motion requesting its bishop to allow clergy “whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where at least one party is baptized” and to authorize rites for such blessings.

But despite what he called a “strong majority” (65 per cent in favour) and “a clear directive,” the diocesan bishop, John Chapman, cautioned that the approved motion was only “a recommendation and is not binding on the diocese or bishop.”

Read the Anglican Journal report in full here.

Earlier, this story was published: Embrace differences, regardless of outcome of vote, says Ottawa bishop.

The Ottawa Citizen reports Anglicans back same-sex blessings and includes the wording of the motion:

‘Be it resolved that this Synod requests that the Bishop grant permission for clergy, whose conscience permits, to bless duly solemnized and registered civil marriages between same-sex couples, where one party is baptized; and that he authorizes an appropriate rite and guidelines for its use in supportive parishes.

The Toronto Star reports this as Synod backs gay rights.


Saturday roundup of columns

The Times Credo column last week had Jonathan Sacks on Religion and science are twin beacons of humanity.

This week it has Peter Selby on It’s time to stop giving credit to our culture of debt.

Guardian Face to Faith column: Fasting is not just about giving up food, but trying to be a better person for it, writes Hamza Yusuf.

Daily Telegraph Christopher Howse has The flowering of Exeter’s carvings.

Church Times Giles Fraser wrote about When the real question is: ‘Are you saved?’


CAPA: reports from the Church Times

See below for CAPA speaks.

The Church Times has two reports:
AIDS heads African agenda
Council resists sexuality debate

… How sad, though, that the fractures of the Communion’s struggles over sexuality kept appearing, in an attempt to persuade the meeting to adopt an entrenched line in response to the US Bishops’ statement from New Orleans (News, 28 September). How sad that whenever we looked at a document, we found it had been drafted by a Western pen. How sad that paragraphs appeared in the draft communiqué that spoke of matters that had not even been debated. And how encouraging it was that the meeting roundly threw them out, and left the issue of sexuality to the Primates.

How rich an experience it was to share the diversity of fellowship across the continent and beyond. How humbling to see the concerted attempts by many delegates to build a sense of community across the traditional lines of high or low church, pro- or anti-Lambeth 2008 — delegates younger and older, female (well, a few), and male.Here was a mature Church, in creative dialogue with itself, on matters of importance.

While there was a concerted attempt to get both the Council and the CAPA Primates to take a firm stand with the “Global South” and against Lambeth, this was clearly not the mood of the meeting. Their concern was an African agenda. Yes, the majority take a conservative view on the sexuality debate, but there was much talk over coffee and tea about the pressure being exerted by the US conservatives (who were very visibly present at the meeting) to “keep CAPA on board”.Many resented this, even those who would sympathise with the position…

…Yet the mood of the meeting was expressed most strongly when the final communiqué, hich, it appeared, had been drafted largely by the Rt Revd Martyn Minns, was discussed. Its many references to the sexuality debate, which had simply not been discussed, were voted off…


CEEC on the Americans

See here.

The Church of England Evangelical Council has published a Statement on The Episcopal Church’s Response to the Primates and the Lambeth Conference.

You can read that here.

To understand who the members of the CEEC are, read this page. To understand how members get to become members, see over here.

The Daily Telegraph has reported this in C of E faces boycott over gay priests row by Jonathan Petre.


two reports on African Christianity

Hat tip to epiScope for both of these.

Nigerians meld Christianity, Islam with ancient practices from the Associated Press. This includes some quotes from Nigerian Anglican spokesman Akintunde Popoola.

And excerpts from Philip Jenkins’ article titled Unholy Communion in the New Republic are available here.


a sermon from Oxford

Marilyn McCord Adams preached at Matins last Sunday in Christ Church, Oxford.

Her sermon titled Sinning Against The Holy Spirit can be found as a pdf file here.

An html copy is over here.

Here’s the conclusion:

Two weeks ago, the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (TEC) replayed the scenario, to its—at any rate, to my—shame. Evidently, their conversations with the Archbishop began by celebrating the uniqueness of the ‘79 prayer book’s baptismal covenant in which, besides renouncing Satan and turning to Christ, besides pledging faithfulness in common prayer and Christian service, we promise to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and to respect the dignity of every human being.” The Presiding Bishop reports that while the majority interpret this to mean that gays and lesbians are deserving of “the fullest regard of the church,” the House of Bishops showed itself “willing to pause” in “its consideration of full inclusion of gay and lesbian persons in the life and ministries of the Episcopal Church.” Bishops reaffirmed 2006 General Convention resolution to exercize restraint by withholding consents to episcopal elections of persons whose lifestyle would pose a serious problem for other members of the Anglican communion. Bishops went further by promising not to authorize rites for the blessing of same sex partnerships until the communion is of a different mind or a future General Convention decides otherwise. (The American House of Bishops has no authority to bind future General Conventions.)

For some bishops, these resolutions were a matter of conscience. It’s no secret that I disagree with them, but that is not my point right now. My focus is instead on the spiritual danger of “going along to get along,” of willingly sacrificing what one believes to be the dignity and well-being of real and present persons on the altar of institutional objectives. The lust for institutional harmony and stability is strong. It repeatedly seduces us, whether the issue is race, gender, sexual orientation, fair trade and wages, immigration and asylum, or something else. But Jesus Christ did not show Himself “willing to pause”: Jesus healed the man with the withered hand, the woman with scoliosis, the lame and the blind on the Sabbath day! Jesus warns, “Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven!”

Happily, the bible’s God does not observe pop-psychological parenting rules not to threaten without following through. Repeatedly, the bible’s God prophesies doom and ruin to wake people up and win repentance. In the midst of present church controversies, one thing is certain: Jesus’ pronouncement should shock us out of our complacency, chasten our behavior, and keep us on our knees!


Barna on American Teenagers

Although quite general in scope, this American research from The Barna Group is of interest.


A New Generation Expresses its Skepticism and Frustration with Christianity

What Teenagers Look for in a Church

A sample:

The Set of Perceptions

While Christianity has typically generated an uneven reputation, the research shows that many of the most common critiques are becoming more concentrated. The study explored twenty specific images related to Christianity, including ten favorable and ten unfavorable perceptions. Among young non-Christians, nine out of the top 12 perceptions were negative. Common negative perceptions include that present-day Christianity is judgmental (87%), hypocritical (85%), old-fashioned (78%), and too involved in politics (75%) – representing large proportions of young outsiders who attach these negative labels to Christians. The most common favorable perceptions were that Christianity teaches the same basic ideas as other religions (82%), has good values and principles (76%), is friendly (71%), and is a faith they respect (55%).

Even among young Christians, many of the negative images generated significant traction. Half of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.

Interestingly, the study discovered a new image that has steadily grown in prominence over the last decade. Today, the most common perception is that present-day Christianity is “anti-homosexual.” Overall, 91% of young non-Christians and 80% of young churchgoers say this phrase describes Christianity. As the research probed this perception, non-Christians and Christians explained that beyond their recognition that Christians oppose homosexuality, they believe that Christians show excessive contempt and unloving attitudes towards gays and lesbians. One of the most frequent criticisms of young Christians was that they believe the church has made homosexuality a “bigger sin” than anything else. Moreover, they claim that the church has not helped them apply the biblical teaching on homosexuality to their friendships with gays and lesbians.


incitement extension proposed

Yesterday the UK Government announced in Parliament that it would table an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality.

Mr Straw said:

The Government have a strong record of promoting equality and of tackling discrimination and bigotry in all its guises. We have strengthened the sentencing framework, so that sentences can be increased where race, religion, disability or sexual orientation are aggravating factors. We have also introduced legislation to outlaw the stirring up of religious hatred, as my hon. Friend reminded the House. We have received many representations on the matter, and I am pleased to say that we will propose a further step to strengthen the protection afforded to homosexual people. It is a measure of how far we have come as a society in the last 10 years that we are all now appalled by hatred and invective directed against gay people, and it is now time for the law to recognise the feeling of the public. In Committee, we will table an amendment to extend the offence of incitement to racial hatred to cover hatred against persons on the basis of their sexuality. Homophobic abuse, lyrics and literature are every bit as abhorrent to those concerned as material inciting hatred based on race or religion, and have no place in our communities.

Media reporting of this today gives some prominence to objections from religious groups:

The Times Inciting hatred against gays could lead to 7 years in prison and yesterday before the announcement, Christians fear jail for criticising gays
Daily Telegraph Seven years jail for gay hate preachers
Guardian Straw moves to ban incitement against gays
Daily Mail New law means anti-gay comments could lead to seven years in jail
BBC Plans to outlaw inciting gay hate

According to the Daily Mail (no other paper mentioned this):

Last night a CofE spokesman said: “We will be scrutinising any legislation to ensure that it safeguards the safety and rights of minorities without jeopardising wider concerns for freedom of expression, including the expression of religious faith.”

The Christian Institute is already on the case, see Gospel freedom threatened by homosexual hate crime.

More Updates
The text of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act is here.

The Evangelical Alliance had this to say about it.


Wycliffe Hall: inspection brought forward

According to Ruth Gledhill in The Times the next inspection of Wycliffe Hall by the Church of England will occur in 2008 rather than 2009.

Bishops to inspect Wycliffe Hall after fears about management


Bishop Nazir-Ali may not attend Lambeth

There are further quotes from the bishop here.

Jonathan Petre reports in the Daily Telegraph that the Bishop of Rochester has said he may not attend:

…Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Bishop Nazir-Ali backed the calls of African archbishops for Dr Williams to convene an emergency meeting of all the primates to decide whether to discipline the Americans or postpone Lambeth.

He said: “My difficulty at the moment is not with a particular person, such as Gene Robinson, but with those who felt it right to approve and to officiate at his ordination.

“Unless they are willing to say that what they did was contrary to the Gospel, and we all of us from time to time need to repent about what we have done wrong, I would find it very difficult to be with them in a council of bishops.”

He said if the conference was no longer to be regarded as an authoritative council, as it had been in the past, then he might be able to attend, but many would then question whether such a costly gathering had any point.

Bishop Nazir-Ali dismissed the view of the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, that conservatives who boycotted Lambeth would be expelling themselves Anglicanism because they had broken their links with the Archbishop of Canterbury…

Read the whole article here


Peter Jensen's opinion on New Orleans etc.

The Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen, has written The Next Twenty Years for Anglican Christians.

…Uncertainty is now over. The decisive moments have passed. Irreversible actions have occurred. The time has come for sustained thought about a different future. The Anglican Communion will never be the same again. The Windsor process has failed, largely because it refused to grapple with the key issue of the truth. A new and more biblical vision is required to help biblically faithful Anglican churches survive and grow in the contemporary world.

Some have still set their hopes on the Lambeth Conference. But that is to misunderstand the significance of our time. It can no longer either unify Anglicanism or speak with authority. The invitations have gone to virtually all, and it is likely that some of those not invited will still attend as guests. There are faithful Anglican bishops who are not invited, and there are others who cannot be present in good conscience. The solemn words of the 1998 Conference were ignored by the American Church in 2003, and any authority which we may have ascribed to the deliberations of the Bishops has been lost permanently. Not surprisingly, Lambeth 2008 is not going to attempt a similar exercise in conciliar pronouncements. Why would it? There is no vision here….

… That leads to this fundamental conclusion. Those who believe that the American development is wrong must also plan for the next decades, not the next few months. There is every reason to think that the Western view of sexuality will eventually permeate other parts of the world. After all, it has done so spectacularly in the West, and the modern communication revolution has opened the way for everyone to be aware of what happens in New York, London, San Francisco and Brighton.

Thus the question before the biblically orthodox in the Communion is this: what new vision of the Anglican Communion should we embrace? Where should it be in the next twenty years? How can we ensure that the word of God rules our lives? How are we going to guard ourselves effectively against the sexual agenda of the West and begin to turn back the tide of Western liberalism? What theological education must we have? How can we now best network with each other? Who is going to care for Episcopalians in other western provinces who are going to be objecting to the official acceptance of non-biblical practices? The need for high level discussion of these issues is urgent.

As an initial step I look to the Global South leadership to call for another ‘Blast of the Trumpet.’ The ensuing consultation must start with the reality of where we are now, and look steadfastly to a future in which the bonds of Communion have been permanently loosened. It has to strengthen the fellowship by which churches will help each other to guard their theological good health while engaging together with the task of preaching the gospel to an unbelieving world…

Read it all.


NPR on foreign archbishops

National Public Radio has a 6 minute report: Foreign Archbishops Flock to U.S. Congregations.

Those interviewed include Miranda Hassett and Jim Naughton.

Listen by going here.

The NPR blurb is:

The U.S. Episcopal Church has been estranged from parts of the global Anglican church since a church in New Hampshire consecrated a gay bishop. The controversy has abated somewhat, but many in the church now worry about another potential divide. Depending on your point of view, African bishops are either stealing American worshippers — or rescuing them.

Just as Western missionaries spread the Christian message to Africa, African and other Anglican leaders are staking claims in the United States.

In the past two years, there’s been a flurry of reverse colonization as archbishops from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Bolivia and Singapore have taken conservative Episcopal churches under their wings.